“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
— Warren Buffett
Investors can learn a lot from Warren Buffett, whose above quote teaches the importance of thinking about investment time horizon, and asking ourselves before buying any given stock: can we envision holding onto it for years — even a two-decade holding period possibly?
Suppose a “buy-and-hold” investor was considering an investment into American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) back in 2000: back then, such an investor may have been pondering this very same question. Had they answered “yes” to a full two-decade investment time horizon and then actually held for these past 20 years, here’s how that investment would have turned out.
|Average annual return:||5.02%|
As we can see, the two-decade investment result worked out well, with an annualized rate of return of 5.02%. This would have turned a $10K investment made 20 years ago into $26,641.39 today (as of 06/23/2020). On a total return basis, that’s a result of 166.35% (something to think about: how might AXP shares perform over the next 20 years?). [These numbers were computed with the Dividend Channel DRIP Returns Calculator.]
Notice that American Express Co. paid investors a total of $15.96/share in dividends over the 20 holding period, marking a second component of the total return beyond share price change alone. Much like watering a tree, reinvesting dividends can help an investment to grow over time — for the above calculations we assume dividend reinvestment (and for this exercise the closing price on ex-date is used for the reinvestment of a given dividend).
Based upon the most recent annualized dividend rate of 1.72/share, we calculate that AXP has a current yield of approximately 1.73%. Another interesting datapoint we can examine is ‘yield on cost’ — in other words, we can express the current annualized dividend of 1.72 against the original $49.18/share purchase price. This works out to a yield on cost of 3.52%.
More investment wisdom to ponder:
“While some might mistakenly consider value investing a mechanical tool for identifying bargains, it is actually a comprehensive investment philosophy that emphasizes the need to perform in-depth fundamental analysis, pursue long-term investment results, limit risk, and resist crowd psychology.” — Seth Klarman